Sign up here for FREE Updates, right to your inbox!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Week 2: Days 7-13

Day 7: Brad the Shaman

Yes, I see a Shaman and by the way he is AMAZING!  I had a session with him yesterday at Unique Perceptions in Spruce Grove, which was a real unexpected treat as he had moved away to Victoria this summer.  Due to some unforeseen circumstances, Brad found himself back in the area and I jumped at the chance to see him again.  Each and every time I see Brad a get some powerful insights about my life and about my spiritual evolution and path.  He will often do energy work on me as well as some journeying which I find to be super insightful.  The session also helped me to integrate and make sense of a lot of the experiences that I had in Nordegg.  Thank you Brad for the selfless work you do and for committing your life to one of SERVICE.  I am humbled and grateful.

Day 8: Eoin Finn's Vinyasa Earth Puja & Shane Philip

Back in October, I had committed to a weekend yoga workshop at Lion's Breath Yoga with Eoin Finn.  Then, when I found out that we were moving this month I went back and forth (and back and forth) about the decision to cancel my registration or not to cancel my registration.  After much deliberation, I decided that I needed to go.  And WOW, am I ever glad that I did!  It was a great workshop that ran both Friday night and Saturday during the day.  Friday night (and Day 8 of my project) was especially blissful.  We discussed a 'branch' of yoga philosophy that totally resonated with me and moved, flowed, sweated, meditated and shared energy with one purpose in mind: Puja (or offering) to Mother Earth.  It was magical.  Then, on my long trek home on the dark, winter roads, I CRANKED Shane Philip's EarthShake album and ROCKED OUT!  By the time I got home I was so full of bliss that I literally could not keep it from flowing out of me!  (Not that I would want to hog it all to myself anyway!)  The real gift or lesson here? (apart from these two amazing beings who helped me to make this happen)  Knowing that by filling my OWN cup, I can help to fill the cups of everyone around me!  Thank you Eoin and Shane :)


Day 9: My parents

EcoCatLady said it best: "I also think you should consider yourself extremely lucky to have parents that you actually WANT to be near".  Isn't that the TRUTH?  If you have been following along of late, you will know that my parents have made the move off the farm into town.  We now live about a 20 minute drive from each other... and after living next door to them for 6 years I have to say that it feels like an ETERNITY away!  Much too far.  Luckily it is only for a very short time.  We will be about a 2 minute drive away from them in only about a week's time, when we finally make the move into town.  What's so great about them?  Um, EVERYTHING?!  They are our best friends!  They are so much fun to hang out with, they are super loving, accepting and helpful, they treat Chephren as if he was their own child (in a good way!), and make our lives better in every possible way.  Do I know that we are beyond fortunate to enjoy this type of relationship with them?  Absolutely.  Do I say it enough?  No.  So, mom and dad/grammy and grampy: THANK YOU from the botton of my heart and soul.  I love and appreciate you to the moon and BACK! 

Day 10: The PURGE begins

I have discovered something about myself... I actually like to get rid of stuff even more than I like to receive it.  Hmmmm.... Since this is a blog about receiving gifts... do you think that my gift for today can be getting rid of my excess?  How is that for a mind-bending thought?

Day 11: Depression day

For the first time in this project, I had to work hard to see the gift in anything today.  I mentioned in an earlier post that I have been battling with depression for most of my adult life (but especially since having a child) and I still have some 'dark days'.  Today was one of those days.  The gift of this is that it literally only lasted one day... I have such a good handle on what my depression looks like, feels like and where it's going that I can actually take myself out of the downward spiral before it even begins. 
Day 12: You're not going to believe what I did today

Today I feel grateful that it isn't yesterday :)  Is that allowed?  I don't care because it's true.  Aside from the gift of a new day, I received a lot of other gifts today.  This (even to me) sounds a bit odd, given the fact that I was out Christmas shopping and buying gifts for other people instead of the other way around.  I should start off by saying that I don't normally do this (like, pretty much ever).  I generally don't 'do malls', I try not to 'do consumerism' and I prefer it that way.  Normally, I handmake most of my gifts and/or support local farmers/artisans and buy all things handmade and local.  At the very least, I try to stay out of the big shops and buy from all of the little businesses in our town.  Of course there are exceptions to every rule, but my goal is to stick within these parameters.  This year, I didn't totally 'blow it': I bought a lot of my gifts in Maui at local craft fairs, and of course, I stocked up at the local potter's guild when I got home, but I definitely had to buy more 'stuff' than usual to finish off my list.  Soooo, today, on December 20th, that meant going to the mall (sigh).  Rather than beat myself up about it (which is totally like me), I decided to phone up my sister and recruit her to help me.  Not only did she help me, but I actually had FUN (shhhhhhhhhh!  Don't tell anyone!)  She is a great gift-buyer (I skill that has always eluded me) and our trip was purposeful, efficient and actually enjoyable.  (I can't believe that I am confessing all of this on a blog that began as a project designed to AVOID SHOPPING ENTIRELY!  I completely understand if you think that I am a sell out and delete me from your reading lists!)  Before you do though, just read this one last thought: What I am really grateful for is the fact that I CAN do this.  I know how very fortunate I am to be able to go and frivolously/freely purchase gifts for my loved ones without even a care in the world.  This is an insanely huge privilege/luxury (aka GIFT) that I do not take for granted.  Thank you Universe for the tremendous amount of ABUNDANCE in my life and may I continue to find new and creative ways of sharing it with others...

Day 13: The Abundance continues, aka the glass is way MORE than half full

I don't know if I have talked about his before, but I have 8 parents.  (Just think, if I were a reality-tv-show star I would be 'octodaughter', oh man, that was a lame one, this time of year must be getting to me!).  I know, I know, you're thinking, 8 parents?  What the heck is this girl talking about?!  So here it is: My biological mom and dad divorced and both re-married (that's 4)... then, I married a man whose biological parents did the same thing (except for his dad, but 'septodaughter' doesn't sound as cool!).  So, Trent and I both have: A mom, a dad, a stepmom, a stepdad, a mother-in-law, a father-in-law, and I have a step-father-in-law and he has a step-mother-in-law.  Plus, Trent's dad does have a partner so it really does make 8.  You with me so far?  Now... close your eyes and picture this... Christmas with 4 DIFFERENT FAMILIES (and all of their families) EVERY.  SINGLE.  YEAR!!!  Did your brain explode?  Mine nearly does.  For 2 weeks of each year, our lives take on a whole new level of crazy.  Don't get me wrong, I love our families, they are wonderful, kind and generous.  Generous being the key word.  Each gathering involves a huge meal at someone's house (or in my aunt's case - she pays for ALL of us to have a nice meal out together because there are too many of us for one house!), and of course, tons and tons of presents.  We have had several gatherings so far this season, and the 'receiving' is well under way.  Again, this is normally something that I REALLY struggle with but this year, I am deciding to reframe it and simply feel grateful for ALL of the gifts I receive.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Universe for blessing me with more loving family members than I know what to do with (and all of the wonderful craziness that goes with it!)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Days 1-6 of The Receiving Project

Day 1: Music Jam/Drumming session with Chephren

In the midst of a crazy emtional day of moving my parents to their house in town - Chephren and I retreated home for a quick lunch break.  Sensing that I was quickly losing the 'inner stillness' leftover from Maui, tried to bring in some peace via meditation.  Too amped up for meditation (it tends to work best after asana practice), I decided that a chanting/drumming/dancing session was in order.  Chephren seemed to agree as he danced, drummed and sang right along with me.  He even had all of his toys dancing!  The next day, he pointed to his toys (yes, they were still in a pile, hey, we're moving!) and said, "Those are my happy dance toys mom!"  A worthy first gift from the Universe, no?

Day 2: Teaching Yoga - an act of Service

I have been reading the yoga Sutras lately and one of the Sutras jumped at me (I.5); it basically says that we should analyze our thoughts/deeds and try to cultivate only selfless thoughts (and actions).  Well for me, teaching yoga is an act of service, in other words, a selfless act.  To be honest, to date, I haven't totally loved the experience.  But what I realized recently is that I had been teaching from the wrong place - from ego instead of my heart.  I was always worried about/wrapped up in what people would think of the way I taught.  I was always fretting about not being 'good enough' to teach yoga.  Looking back on that way of thinking, it seems like a distant, well-meaning but totally ill-placed train of thought.  I have begun the process of switching from this train of non-productive thought (and really quite selfish way of thinking) to one of selflessness.  I set the intention at the beginning of each of my classes that my words/thoughts/actions will be of the highest service for all of those participating in the class and that each person attending will get exactly what they need from coming.  In other words, I really just want people to get the most out of their yoga practice.  By simply making that switch in my own being, gone are the worries and the anxiety that used to come with every class I taught.  Sound simple?  It really is.  And this shift in thinking is gift number 2 from the Universe.

Day 3: Many hands make light work

If you read my 'Quick Update' post, you will know that both my parents and Trent and I are attempting to move off the farm this month.  Couple this with the fact that we have been gone for the month of November and the house that Trent and I are moving into also needs to be moved out of, and well, you can just imagine the kind of stress/extra workload that we are exposed to on a daily basis.  Anyway, this past Friday and Saturday we focused on helping out my parents and I am pleased to report that they are mostly moved in to their new house.  So, Trent and I decided to spend Sunday trying to get ourselves organized for our move as well.  We began at the new house which, as I mentioned also needs to be moved out of first, before any of our moving can take place.  We also have a few details to fix up before moving in as well and eventually, we'll finish the basement but that is another post entirely.  Anyway, between Trent's Dad, his partner, Trent and myself, we managed to get the kitchen almost entirely packed up and cleaned out!  It was a job that I was kind of dreading but turned out to be actually quite satisfying and enjoyable.  Many hands truly do make light work so THANK YOU for the extra help and adding joy to the experience!

Day 4: Nordegg

Got up early Monday morning and drove to Nordegg with Chephren.  The plan was to spend some time with some close friends and soak up some mountain energy.  Chephren was great company for the entire car ride and as soon as those mountains were in view we both knew that we had come 'home'.  Chephren talked about Nordegg almost daily while we were in Maui and there is no question how drawn he is to the area.  I feel the same way.  Really feeling grateful for this place and the fact that we are building a house there.  Thank you Universe for bringing this tiny little town and community into our lives and hearts!

Day 5: Great Food... Great Friends... Super GRATEFUL

The time spent with my friends was AMAZING.  These women (and you too Chris!) filled my cup so much so that I have a renewed sense of purpose, vigor, inner stillness and peace.  I feel ready for the tasks/challenges that lay ahead as well as the gifts that continue to flow in.  Plus, I didn't even have to cook dinner tonight :)  Thank you all for an amazing day!  (P.S.  I also received a Chakra-clearing set from Ken - so thank you for the very thoughtful and generous gift Ken)

Day 6: Home Sweet Home

As much as I love being in Nordegg (and I greatly look forward to the day when we live there permanently), it is always nice to come home to comfortable surroundings.  The fire in the woodstove, my warm and comfy bed and my wonderful husband.  Today's gift is all about being grateful for what I get to have every. single. day. 

Chephren - also happy to be home!

Stay tuned for more Gifts from the Universe!


The Receiving Project

'Tis the season for Giving/Receiving gifts.  If you have been following my blog for any amount of time, you will know that I am not a huge fan of this process as traditionally it has been associated with a tremendous amount of excess/consumerism/greed/waste, etc.  So when I found out about The Receiving Project from a friend, I was super excited to get involved and spread the word.  Here is what this project is all about (excerpts taken from the e-mail that I received from my friend):

The gist of The Receiving Project is that you declare your intention to receive a gift from the universe everyday for 32 days. This can come in any and every form. If you feel like it's a gift that you were able to receive then it counts.

To set your intention, it may be helpful to say it out loud, say it to yourself, read it or write it. I find it helpful to do this everyday. But that is not necessary. There is no right or wrong way to do this project. The intention that I set is, "It is my intention to receive gifts of loving from The Universe."

Throughout the days, be aware of what gifts show up in your life. These can come in all shapes and sizes! Allow yourself to be surprised, as setting the intention to receive presents is a powerful beacon of attraction! This isn't necessarily about receiving something specific. Just be open to the goodness in The Universe and see what shows up.

Click here to find out more about The Receiving Project or check out their page on Facebook.

I am already on Day 7 of the Project and will be posting my first entry shortly.

Here is to receiving gifts that are meaningful and authentic.

Feel the BLISS!


Quick update

Lots of change happening here on the the old Hasse Ranch (or as my friend recently wrote as he addressed our Christmas card 'La Hassienda' -- don't know why I never thought of that before, love it!).  I have started a new project (I know what you are thinking, what NOW? But it is a much simpler project than the last one, believe me), and before I start posting about it, I was feeling like I needed to update my readers briefly (okay, let's be honest, am I ever brief?  No, but I am going to give it a shot).

So, here is what is UP:
  • I am going to use point form to help me keep it brief (this girl is thinking this fine, frigid morning!)
  • We are moving.  (Can I please get a yahoo?)  We are moving into the nearest town - Stony Plain into Trent's Dad's house.  It is a LOOOONG story how this all came to be, and I won't bore you with the details but the bottom line is: Smaller house + Less Driving + Opportunity to PURGE my material life = Blissful Me!
  • My parents are also moving - check that, have MOVED.  Also into Stony Plain and will be living 1.5 miles away from us.  Yes, I measured and yes, it is going to feel like half a world away, but we are telling ourselves it is SHORT TERM!
  • I spent the month of November in Maui.  I didn't blog because I wanted to 'disconnect' from technology and 'reconnect' with 'Le Nature'.  It was amazing.  I did outside yoga almost daily, watched the sunset over the ocean many, many times, went parasailing, went diving, went whale watching, and spent a glorious amount of time by the pool and on the beach with my family.  In other words, I spent most of the month feeling inner bliss.  (And no, I am not overjoyed to be back home in Canada, but I am getting used to it!)

I think that's about it.  See?  Brief.


Oh... the Project.  Nope.  Not telling.  I am working on the first post right now and you will have to wait for it.  Not long though, I promise ;)

Here's to CHANGE!

Marebare xoxo

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The winds of change are blowing...

I think that I've talked about this before... in fact, I know that I did.  I wrote about people changing (and argued that they do, and that I did).  Now I am going to write about the other side of the coin so-to-speak, the part where we, humans, society, (or what have you) aren't always open to change.  In fact, that is putting it lightly.  People (or so it would appear to me) generally abhor change.

But why?  What is it about change that makes us crazy?  I changed my blog formatting for example (and I will totally admit that it is making me uncomfortable).  It is something simple and in the big scheme of things not at all important, and yet, discomfort, uncertainty, and maybe even some anxiety are creeping in.  Now magnify that by about a billion and we are getting to the heart of it.  Change in people's lives is a HUGE deal.  Change at work, change at home, change in your relationships, change in the economy, change on a GLOBAL scale.  And I hate to break it to you, but the changes are just going to keep coming, faster and more 'furious' than ever before. 

So how do we cope with all of this change?  Well, the first thing I am going to say is that to resist change is futile (more about futility, I know!)  Resisting isn't going to stop the inevitable and in fact will only delay your acceptance of it, leaving you 'behind the 8 ball' as you attempt to reconcile the change(s) once you have finally accepted them.

If we aren't resisting change, what are we doing then?  The feelings I described above are real... they exist and I would even say they are warranted.  I am not saying 'don't feel that way' or 'suck it up princess' or 'would you like some cheese to go with that whine' (or any other silly cliche for that matter).  What I am trying to get at is how do we acknowledge those feelings and then move beyond them. 

This is the part where I have you waiting on the edge of your seat right?  You are fully expecting me to have the answer and share it with you, yes? 

The truth is, I am still trying to sort it out myself.  I feel like saying, 'All that I know for sure is that I don't know' (!).  Not helpful, I know.  But I guess it begins with awareness and 'shedding light' on the situation. 

Here is what I am proposing... the next time that you see the above sign (metaphorically people, stay with me!), I would encourage you to follow these principles:

  1. Don't hit the panic button!  And I know that you know exactly what I'm talking about!  Another way to think of this step is to BLINK AND BREATHE!  Pause, delay, in orther words do whatever it takes to 'stall' your instinctive reaction (it's just your ego rearing its ugly head).  Stalling will allow you the time to get into your heart instead - where your intuition lives...
  2. Notice, shine the light on, bring awareness to what is coming up for you: what emotions are you feeling and where do you feel them in your body.  Now here is the tricky part... You actually need to feel them... breathe into them.  A wise friend of mine helped me to see that during this step walking outside and being in nature helps.  The physical movement actually helps to move those emotions through and out of the body.  Sounds simple (and obvious) but it works!  Even better if you can do this with a great friend who will listen to you but not enable you to stay in those feelings for too long.
  3. Now that you have acknowledged and released the feelings and emotions associated with the 'change' that you are fearing, you should feel lighter... like there is now some 'space' in the body/mind to look at the situation in a new way.  Now you are ready to allow the change... and yes, even accept it.

The winds of change are eternally blowing, and yes, the wind might even be picking up in your corner of the world.  The choice is yours, continue to resist or figure out how to integrate, accept and maybe even thrive on change. 

I know what I'm picking, do you?


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Cat's Out of the Bag

What the heck is that anyway - 'The cat's out of the bag'... who the heck came up with that?  We all know what it means (to tell someone something private or secretive), and I looked it up just to make sure (I am SO predictable like that), but why we call it that remains a mystery (to me anyway). 

Do you get the feeling that I am trying to talk about something personal but not sure how to go about it?  Woah, you are perceptive.  Nice work.

Sooooo.... here it goes.  Deep breath (literally, I just took one).  Still trying to spit it out here...

Okay.  So, are you sure you want to hear this?  Because if not, there is this hilarious video on you tube that you could watch instead...

Still here?  Okay... I guess if you are still reading this, you've earned a quick look at the cat (the one sticking out of the bag, remember?)

I suffer from depression.  There.  I said it.  Since most of my audience out there consists of my family and friends, this isn't news to you (and you are probably slightly angry at me for putting you through all of the above antics for that little gem that you can file under information-you-already-knew!).  For those of you who don't know me (or don't know me well enough to know this about me) you are probably wondering why the heck is this person sharing this with me... on the INTERNET of all places!?? 

The truth is because like this blog (and everything in it), 'my' depression (I am not sure why we call it that, but we do) is a part of me, and until yesterday (literally) I had not fully accepted this. 

Here is my story in five hunderd words or less:

Looking back, I have been suffering from episodes of mild-moderate depression for the past 17 years, although I didn’t know it at the time. Everything came to a head when I became pregnant with Chephren – that’s right, my depression started during my pregnancy and continued raging on right into the post-partum period. By the time our son was 8 months old I was a complete wreck… I could barely look after myself let alone a baby. More than that, I was scared. I felt trapped and all I could see were two choices: run away or get help. Sooo… I got help, and yes, that help (mostly) came in the form of medication. I can’t tell you how resentful I was about putting that stuff into my body. But, you know what they say about desperate times…

Anyway, this story has a happy ending. After a few months on the medication I was able to function again and no longer felt the need to run away and abandon my family, however I cannot say that I ‘returned to normal’. While the medication helped me manage the ‘doom and gloom’ it also kept me from feeling ‘warm and fuzzy’… about anything. As a gal who formerly loved to laugh, dance, and generally play the days away, this situation would simply not do.

So, off the medication I went (back in February of this year). This choice is one that I do not regret but it doesn’t come without its risks either. You see as someone who has suffered with this illness for more than half of my life, I am told that I will likely be dealing with it forever. Fun hey? What this means is that I now need to ‘manage’ the depression and avoid triggers that could lead me into another depressive episode.

Every now and then I dabble in the world of DENIAL, and had been doing so since the end of my last depressive episode in June. It looks something like this: ‘Oh I am so glad that my depression is gone, what a terrible and silly way to live my life…blah, blah, blah’. And then BAM you have a bad day with some dark thoughts and you can literally see the downward spiral into despair.

Yesterday was such a day. Now, I know what you’re thinking, it’s just a bad day, we all have them and you are right we do. And today? Today was much, much better, which means that the potential ‘crash’ was averted. But it also makes me realize how vulnerable I am to that state of being, and how desperately I don’t want to go there again. Which brings me (finally) to the reason that I am sharing all of this: to create awareness… awareness for myself, and maybe for others who might be going through something similar.  I am hoping that through awareness I can create positive change...

And then there's this guy:

Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.

- Mohandas K. Gandhi

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming…

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Update on the last post: An epiphany

After I posted my last blog entry on facebook, some brief conversation followed with some friends who know me well which lead me to have an epiphany.  It isn't the cooking (or even the baking) that stresses me out about entertaining at my house, it's the CLEANING!!!!  In fact, I had written the following entry a few months ago and it was just sitting (unfinished) in my 'drafts' folder waiting for just such an occassion to be published.  I believe the original title was 'Making Peace with Futility'.

I have experienced encouters with futility thoughout my life: any/all attempts to increase my vertical jump (my 2-year-old can already jump higher than me), whittle my midsection to flatness (I am currently and incessantly rocking a diva/goddess/buddha paunch), and for the past two, almost three years, cleaning my house.

The dictionary defines futility as:

1. The quality of having no useful result; uselessness.
2. Lack of importance or purpose; frivolousness.
3. A futile act.
I wouldn't call any of my above three encounters frivolous (except for maybe the vertical jump), so, I guess we can render them 'useless', or as I like to think of them: POINTLESS!
Nap times are dwidling in my house as Chephren approaches three -- making the days when he actually does nap sacred.  I mean, this is literally the ONLY time that I get for me nowadays and I try to spend it as selfishly as possible: naps, reading, yoga, meditation... ahhh... just that string of words brings me a feeling of bliss. 
This past Tuesday just happened to be one of those sacred days... and I took full advantage by scrubbing my floors and toilets...

PSYCH!  (Remember when people used to say that back in the 90's?  I loved it, and I am bringing it back... just sayin'!)

Anyway, why oh why would I spend my precious 'me' time cleaning my house, only to have 'Captain Destructo' wake up from his nap and literally undo my efforts in 5 minutes flat?  Nope.  Not happening.  I would rather have a dirty house.  There I said it.  My house is mildly dirty and often messy.  If you would like to come over for dinner, I would love to cook for you, but you can for sure expect a messy house and week-old cookies for dessert (at best). 

And here, for the record, is what Chephren was up to while I was having my epiphany and writing about it on here:

I rest my case.


The pendulum swings...

People change.  They do.  They DO!  If it seems like I am defending my position on this one it is because I am fully expecting someone to come on here and be all, 'People don't change!', or, 'Once a (blank) always a (blank)'.  Well, I disagree.

As an aside, I was just about to give you the old 'The cells in the human body replace themselves every seven years' line.  Then, I thought maybe I should actually look this 'fact' up before putting my hand on my hip and waving my finger in the air.  Ha!  It turns out that this is a hotly debated topic on the internets (try it, you'll see) and about an hour later I emerged from that wormhole, my brain a hot, hot mess and needing some leftover chocolate cake to help me re-focus.

Ahhhh, chocolate cake.  The whole reason for this post.

I will leave the '7 years' theory alone for now and gently return to my suggestion (and now humble opinion) that people change (a little bit anyway, can we agree on that at least?)

Case in point (finally!):

About 10 years ago, when I moved into my first 'big girl' apartment (condo actually), it was my very favorite thing in the world to have people over for dinner.  Like a lot of people (sometimes up to 20!), in a 900 sq. foot apartment... I would spend the week before planning (many of the dinners had themes), preparing, shopping, and fighting with Trent.  Then I would spend the ENTIRE day cleaning the condo and slaving away in my tiny, tiny kitchen (while Trent hid from me and/or pretended to be busy with something else).  I must admit that on many occasions, I outdid myself.  So much so in fact, that I think that I wrecked it.  I now live in a humongous house (not to brag or anything, but it really is humongous - much, much too big for three people) with the biggest kitchen that you have ever seen.  The counter space!  The cupboard space!  It is a wanna-be-chef's dream!  And, for the most part, I could absolutely care less about entertaining here. 

It's not that I don't like my friends anymore (I do!  I love you guys, I promise!).  It's just that I think I burnt myself out on the whole dinner party thing.  See?  I changed!  Something that I used to be passionate about now makes me want to crawl into my bed and hide under the covers.  It is just so much WORK and EFFORT!  I would so much rather do something outside with my friends, or go out for a meal... or better yet come over to your house for dinner!  (What? I am being honest here)

Anyway, I am way off topic (and I apparently needed to get that off my chest), but we did have friends over for dinner on Saturday.  And yes, I cooked a meal.  It was... average.  Nothing fancy to be sure.  But it was edible, and even followed up by another thing about dinner parties that I hate - dessert.  I don't eat the stuff (well, rarely anyway), but it seems that there is an expectation that people serve/eat that stuff at dinner parties.  Soooo, I mentioned to Trent that I was going to bake a cake.  Here's how that one played out:

M: 'What should I make for dessert?'
T: 'Nothing, we don't eat dessert.  Don't we have some week old cookies or something?'
M: 'Um, I am not serving those... what about if I make a cake.  I would totally eat a chocalate cake with whipped cream and canned cherries.' (Don't ask me what that was all about, I must've been on my period)
T: 'You are the worst baker in the world.  I would strongly suggest that you DO NOT bake a cake.  Just buy a cake mix.'
M: 'Cake mixes are gross, and full of chemicals.'
T: 'Trust me, a cake mix would be way better than anything you would bake.'
M: Silence as I perused my various cookbooks... and then, 'You are totally right.  I hate that about you.'

So there you have it folks.  From a year of 'Marebare Necessities' making everything from scratch right down to my own SHAMPOO all the way to Duncan Hines.

Um, who says people don't change?


Friday, September 23, 2011

It's Friday! Thought for the day...

Funny, before I had a child I never realized that Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and The Alphabet Song (is that the real title?  Does it even have a title?) both had the same tune...

This doesn't sound like it would be problem, BUT IT IS!  In fact I just heard from the other room:

"ABCDEFGHIJKL (bear with me here...) MNOPQRSTUVWXYZ... Now I wonder what you are...."

Who ever thought that one up was either too lazy to think of their own tune or totally trying to screw with the little people.  Slow clap anonymous song writer, slow clap.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We do it to ourselves...

Welcome to Adulthood!  You will now be faced with a series of extremely difficult and life-altering choices that look something like this:

  • Go to college - don't go to college
  • Get married - don't get married
  • Have kids - don't have kids
  • Have one kid - have more kids
  • Stay at home with the kid(s) - go back to work
Each decision with its own set of pros and cons, benefits and costs and frankly mind-blowing ramifications.  And yet, everyone usually has a strong opinion about each of these very personal choices (the key word here is personal... in case the italics didn't cover it) -- we call that judgement folks, otherwise known as 'should-ing'. 

So when faced with these decisions, they actually look something like this:
  • Go to college - don't go to college (but for heaven's sake MAKE A DECISION and god forbid you should ever change your mind!)
  • Get married - don't get married (AKA, you'd better get married lest you be livin' in SIN, Oh, and if you don't have a partner - WHY NOT?  WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU?)
  • Have kids - don't have kids (In other words, you'd better be having them, and if you can't, WHY CAN'T YOU??? So there you are, left with the equally challenging option of fertility treatments - no fertility treatments or adopt - don't adopt)
  • Have one kid - have more kids (Well finally, you had one and WHAT?  You're even considering stopping there?  WHAT THE HELL?)
  • Stay at home with the kid(s) - go back to work (Well, aren't you lucky if this decision is even part of your reality you spoiled BRAT!)
Seem a little harsh?  Maybe, but in the past 14 years, I can honestly say that I have fielded questions in each of these categories and been met with similar responses - either real or perceived.  Yes, you read that correctly, I said real or perceived.  What I am trying to say is that yes, you will be judged by many others for any/all decisions that you make in life.  However, if you can forgive/accept yourself for making those choices (or avoiding them all together) then there won't be a problem.  In other words, be kind to yourself and the rest will follow...

Sounds simple enough, right?  It really is.  So ALLOW, and let go of JUDGEMENT (especially of yourself, but of others too).  And for pete's sake, quit 'should-ing' all over yourself!

Wishing you light and love as you make each of the 'tough' decisions...


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yet another recycling saga

You may recall that last year during my 'No Impact Week Challenge' I found out that soft plastics were a 'no-go' in terms of recycling... pretty much anywhere in this fine Province.  So you can just imagine my delight when I arrived at my recyling depot last week and found a sign stating that they are now accepting plastic bags.  Those of you who follow me on facebook might have seen my post about this miraculous day.  If you missed it, it read:

Best. Day. Ever. ... Okay, maybe not ever, but a great day nonetheless. My recycling depot is now accepting plastic bags!!! I have been saving any/all of those things for just the occasion. About 6 years. Yes, literally. It's the small things really...

You might be thinking to yourself, wow, is this chick ever DRAMATIC!  And, you would be right... remember, this is the same lady who uses CAPSlock for EVERYTHING and ellipses and exclamation points and... well, you get the point.  Anyway, needless to say, I was pretty stoked about the recycling development in my community.

For some reason, call it a whim, or call it intuition that somethings really ARE too good to be true, I decided to call the town prior to dropping of my latest recycling bags.  I think you know where I am going with this...  THEY HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT!!!!!  And actually, they were pretty indignant that I would suggest such a thing.  Soooooo, I proceeded to take all of the newly added bags out of my recycling pile (*sigh), and headed down to the recycling station with my iPhone handy... you know, just in case I was ACTUALLY RIGHT.  Which, ahem, I was:

Soooo, of course, I phoned the town again (they were a little less indignant this time), and believe it or not, I kept my cool.  Here was the forwarded e-mail reply from their service provider...

Yes, this bin is just being used as a switch while the regular bin's door
is repaired... this bin is from another area that accepts these materials
(even though no markets exist for most non-stamped film plastic (most
plastic bags fall under this category) and therefore much of this material
ends up being land-filled anyways -- which is why we don't accept it in our

The proper bin will be placed back into service by the week after next at

Soooo, I guess this means I am back to storing 6 years worth of plastic bags (about a garbage bag full)... anyone have any brilliant ideas what I could/should do with them?


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things... FALL edition

I love all of the seasons... I do, honest!  I know, I know, winter is way too long, spring is way too messy/dirty, fall is much too short and summer... what summer?  I have heard them all.  Listen here Canadians (and many Northern-dwelling Americans and anyone else who is fortunate enough to have FOUR seasons), we have it good.  I know, I know, the weather in Hawaii is fantastic every day of the year, however we couldn't very well all live on those tiny islands now could we?  So, let's embrace change and the cyclical nature of our existance... for each new season comes in bearing a whole host of gifts. 

Fall... ah fall.  Where I live, it is already here.  It arrived literally overnight as we closed the chapter of summer with one final week of above-average temperatures.  There are definite signs when fall is here, from the obvious visual resplendence of the leaves to the less obvious 'feel' in the air.  Autumn air is heavy with the smells of harvest and carries an unmistakable bite of chilliness... foreshadowing for the winter winds to come.  The air is also filled with the cacophony of geese, ducks and other birds who are 'getting the heck out of dodge'! 

The 'feast for the senses' described above is one of the reasons why I think Autumn is wonderful.  Here are some of my other favorite things about FALL:
  • Having fires in the woodstove once again
  • Sipping tea and curling up on the couch (preferably in the sun) reading a great book (I just finished a life-changing book: Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping)
  • Playing in the leaves (even more fun now with Chephren)

  • Jumping hay bails (What?  I didn't play enough as a kid and I am making up for it now)
  • Harvesting my garden (wellll... I don't love the actual harvesting part, but I LOVE the food!)

  • Firing up my crockpot and diving once again into soups, stews and other warm 'comfort' foods.
What do you love about Fall? 


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Yoga is my skinny jeans...

If you haven't noticed, I have a slightly short attention span.  Okay, okay, more like a mild case of ADD!  (Let's just say that if that diagnosis existed back when I was in school I was a shoo-in!)  Needless to say, each week (day, hour, minute) I have a new interest/passion.  This is reflected oh-so-brilliantly by the stack of books by my bed.  I am someone who is almost incapable of reading 'just one book' at a time. 

Lucky for me, I am at the point in my life now where most of my areas of interest are simply being 'recycled', meaning that they are all hobbies that I have already pursued.  I have spent most of the past 20 years being frustrated by this... wondering why I don't have the mental tenacity to 'stick with' anything.  More recently though, I have tried to relax into this pattern, realizing that 'it is what it is' and that by resisting something so instrinsic to my being I am wasting a lot of energy. 

Of late, I have once again renewed my passion and dedication to my yoga practice.  I have been practicing yoga (somewhat consistently) for about 10 years.  In 2005 I completed my 200 hr. Yoga Teacher Training down in Mexico which was truly one of the highlights of my life thus far.  After giving birth to Chephren, it took me a few months to return to my practice and when I did, it was quite sporadic in nature.  All of that changed when That Yoga Place - a hot yoga studio, opened up in Spruce Grove last summer.  I immediately purchased a one year membership and made a re-commitment to my practice.  I have also started teaching a few classes there which has been a great experience thus far. 

Why am I ranting about all of this?  Well, thanks to my shiny-new 'going with the flow' attitude (which I also call 'following the signs'), I have been recently introduced to a new (to me) yoga style called 'The Rocket'.  Invented by the late (and great) Larry Shultz (THE yoga teacher of the Grateful Dead), it is an Ashtanga-like routine that I am told will 'get me there faster'.  Really what it does is make a lot of the advanced poses (arm balances, forearm stands, handstands, etc.) accessible to everyone.  Here is a cool video to give you an idea of what it looks like:

rocket on the deck from peg mulqueen on Vimeo.

Thus far, The Rocket training (and more likely the amazing teacher that I am learning from) has me re-inspired and I feel a re-ignited passion for my yoga practice.  Yoga is my skinny jeans, meaning that when everything in my life is going well (which is pretty well is) then I seem to be able to reap the benefits of yoga even more... (it also helps that lots of yoga seems to help me back into my skinny jeans all over again!)  What I need to work on then is making yoga my 'comfy sweats'... something that I return to EVERY SINGLE DAY because of the comfort/calm/solace that it brings me.  For now though, I think I will 'enjoy the ride' of the Rocket and rock out in my skinny jeans.



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When Opposites Attract...

My husband and I have been together for 13 years... married for 7 (I think... yeah, that's right), but together for THIRTEEN!  That is almost half of my life!!!!  Okay, that was a bit of wishful thinking there, but you get the point, it is a relatively long time.  We started dating when I was 19... did you catch that? NINETEEN!  So, basically I was a child... (and I just outed my age on the internet).  Trent was only 20 (there, now I took him down with me).  Yup, just kids we were.

Trent and I with one of the VW vans that we lived in... this one's a '79
Why am I ranting about this?  No, it's not our anniversary (I don't think... nope, it's not).  I am bringing this up because I want to talk about change... and compromise.  You see, looking back (and looking around), it would appear that in today's culture 'your twenties' is a decade of intense and profound personal development (aka change).  During this time, we essentially move from being dependent adolescents into independent adults (well, most of us do anyways).  It should be noted that my generation (and the generations that are following me) are extremely fortunate to be afforded this decade of self-discovery.  Things were quite different for those who have come before me -- even for my parents.  Thirty, forty, fifty years ago (and before), the transition from teenager to adult was swift and complete... with many people finding themselves with a mortgage, families and full-time jobs by the time they were in their early to mid-twenties.  This still occurs today, although much less frequently, with most young adults choosing to stay 'in the nest' until they are finished college or even beyond.  I am getting off topic here, so I will make my point: Trent and I have both changed... a LOT.

Now I know what you're going to say... 'people don't change'.  And to some extent I would agree with you.  Fundamental personality traits probably don't change that much, but life circumstances do, and we must therefore adapt to 'keep up with the times'.  Experiences change people, and in thirteen years, we have been fortunate to have had a lot of 'experiences'.  Travelling, working, university, marriage, parenthood... (the nostalgia is setting in)... needless to say, it has been quite a ride. 

The thing is, Trent and I have always been 'different' (and by different I mean TOTAL OPPOSITES OF ONE ANOTHER!!!)  My maid of honor made a comment at our wedding that was something along the lines of... 'I never thought that I would see the day when a hippy would marry a red neck'...  Me neither Catherine... me neither.  And yet, here we are. 

Now I am not a huge fan of labels as I find them quite restrictive... and I use them here only to help make the point that we are indeed quite different (and I am apparently not alone in my thinking).  In this case, I also like the images that these particular labels conjur up in the mind (peace vs. guns, fresh garden veggies vs. steak, yoga vs. quadding) etc.  I think you get the picture (at least I would hope so after five paragraphs - five?  Oh man, this is turning into a wordy RANT!)

Trent ripping it up this winter
Me, contemplating the Universe, Yoga Teacher Training, 2005

The point that I am trying to not-so-succintly make is that after thirteen years of growing/changing/developing in our relationship and as individuals we are more different than ever.  Trent just came home from a weekend of quadding with a friend... his idea of HEAVEN!  I spent the weekend on my road bike and doing yoga... dreaming of road bike/mountain bike races/events that I would like to enter and yoga retreats that I would like to do...  Essentially, we both spent the weekend in our glory.  Apart, but still happy. 

In the past, we have tried to 'dabble' in each other's worlds.  Trent once biked with me from Banff to Jasper (288 km)... we rode a tandem.  As an indication of how that went: I WILL NEVER GET ON A BICYCLE WITH THAT MAN AGAIN!!!! EVER!!!!  Trent also came to one (yes, just one) of my yoga classes... and injured himself because he was competing with me (yes, I was teaching the class)... enough said about that. 
I have also taken more than a few rides on a variety of Trent's 'death machines' and bought, eaten and prepared more than my share of dead cow.  See?  We try.

Shortly after Trent had a full-on temper tantrum in the bushes... ask me to tell you this story in person... it is HILARIOUS!

Me, hoping that I don't meet my demise
As we move through life though, we seem to try less and less.  I stick with what I know and like, and he does the same.  We do our best to compromise, but really, at this point, it is more about accepting each others differences. 

Thankfully, we do have a few things in common...

Our love of travel:

The Hasse's in Chile, 2007

Our love of the mountains:

The Hasse's on Mt. Aberdeen (with Forrest)... shortly before we were heli-rescued... again, ask me to tell you that story in person... it is CRAZY!

Some amazing friends:

Summit of Mt. Wilcox for my dad's 50th B-day!
Post ice-climbing shot

and of course, this little gem:


Speaking of which, I can't help but think that while all of our differences make our relationship a bit challenging (okay a lot challenging) at times, Chephren is sure to reap the benefits of this situation.  Thanks to us, he loves quadding and yoga, veggies and meat, biking and drinking beer (okay, maybe not that last thing, but you get the idea).  What I am trying to say is that our differences are a GIFT.  A gift to our son.  Huh.  I have never thought of it that way before.

With that said, 'Vive Les Differences'!!!!  Life would sure be boring if we were all the same :)


Friday, July 15, 2011

Practicin' what I be Preachin'

Chephren is an artist too (yes, he is only two, but remember, we are ALL artists)!  To reinforce/cultivate this belief in him, we try make time for art very regularly - at least once or twice per week but lately, given his interest in it, more.  I have a great supply of art materials leftover from my one art course in University (where I myself was beyond shocked to learn for the first time that gasp! I myself was an artist).  As you know, I am still working on re-building that belief system, but that is another entry (or twenty), so let's focus instead on the next generation... bringing us back to Chephren and his burgeoning creativity.

Today we started our creative time with watercolor paints (I stayed there, Chephren went on to experiment with chalk pastels, glitter, felt markers and pencil crayons).  Here are the results of today's endeavors:

The felt-marker piece
The chalk pastel piece
The watercolor piece
As you can see, Chephren excels at experimenting within each of the mediums, exploring primarily color, but also different brush sizes (with the painting) and different techniques (blending colors with his fingers in the chalk pastel piece).

If you are interested in exploring art with a young person, here are some tips that I can offer you (some of them mine, and some of them from my course in Uni):
  • Set your space up so that you aren't worried about the MESS -- art can/should be messy.  We do art either in the basement where I don't care about the mess or at the kitchen counter where it is easy to wipe up spills/messes.
  • If you are painting or doing anything wet, it is fun/practical to designate an 'artists smock' for such activities.  Chephren picked his from an old stack of shirts and loves wearing it.
  • Don't impose any rules on them (especially at such a young age)... when they are older, you can begin to discuss techniques/themes/mediums/effects, WHATEVER, but the main idea here is to make it FUN!  Encourage them to play, experiment and gosh-darnit, do whatever the heck that they like!
  • 'Art' goes beyond coloring books (although these do have a limited purpose in teaching fine-motor skills and yes, I do have one in my 'restaurant bag'), BUT, this isn't the time/place for them.  Enough said.
  • Don't be afraid to let them try out new/different tools/mediums.  This way, they will come to know which ones they love to play/experiment/create with and it won't be imposed.  Of course, choose materials that are non-toxic and if possible, washable, but think outside the box in terms of what those little people are capable of.  If you are worried about how they treat the materials, build that into the 'lesson'. 
  • Display your child's work with pride.  I have an 'artist's wall' in our playroom and Chephren gets to choose which pieces go onto the wall.  We also have conversations about playing around or practicing vs. doing our 'best work'.  Encourage your child to sign their work (if they are a bit older) and to give it a name.  Discuss what they created and why... (again, more for older children).  If you are planning on keeping the pieces for a scrapbook, it might be fun to record what they tell you on the back of the piece as well as the date.
  • We like to play music in the background while we work... doesn't have to be kids music either.  Pick something that you will both enjoy.
  • Lastly and maybe even most importantly: PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH.  Hence the subject line of this post.  When Chephren and I sit down for 'creative time', I do just that, sit down and create alongside him.  That way he sees that indeed, we are all artists and that art is important enough to make time for... at any age.  Who knows, you might just like it!  Here is my watercolor piece from today...
    You might recognize this from a photograph that I took in Kelowna... hey, I am not quite as inspired Chephren is... yet!
  • Oh, and one more thing: it might be fun to do a piece collectively... and just see what comes up.  Here is one that we did today:

And all of this advice from someone who is creatively 'blocked'.  Huh.

Happy creating!

Marebare (and Chephren)

Monday, July 11, 2011

My creative champions

In my last entry, I mentioned that I have been taking a ‘course’ in creativity via the book I am reading. This week, one of the suggested tasks was to list three of your ‘creative champions’. This was an easy list for me to create, although there was NO WAY that I could limit it to three, so I went with five (okay six). I have decided it fitting to pay tribute to each of them here…

My ‘fantastic five’ biggest creative influences/inspirations in my life are (in no particular order):

1. Tess: Everything that Tess touches/does/thinks is literally expounding with creativity. It is difficult not to overstate just how artistic and original Tess is. Her inspired energy is so powerful that it seems almost tangible. Simply knowing Tess has forever changed me. I find that spending time with her ‘supercharges’ my own sense of creative spirit. So much so, that going to visit Tess and her family in Kelowna feels like a creative retreat. I leave feeling refreshed, relaxed, reenergized and most importantly, re-inspired to become a better version of myself. Tess sees the world through a lens that allows her to live authentically and beautifully… to know her is to love her and feel blessed!

2. Wendy: I met Wendy in University when we were taking our B.Ed.’s together. When I first met her I remember thinking, ‘Wow! This lady sure thinks outside the box… she is going to make one heck of a teacher someday!’ (She did go on to do just that!) While in school, I had the good fortune to work with Wendy on a few projects and began to have regular coffee dates with her after class as well. During these visit, I came to learn that while the way in which she expresses herself is unique and fresh, she is also filled with a certain wisdom, making her an ‘old soul’ if you will. Everything that Wendy does and says is heartfelt… you can feel her genuineness in every interaction that you have with her. Wendy is also one of the bravest women that I have ever known, and she is not afraid to ‘put herself out there’. Thank you Wendy for sharing a bit of your life with me and teaching me to nurture the artist within.

3. Jody/Cheryle: I know what you are thinking, I can’t pick two people for one spot, but guess what, this is my list and I make the rules! I put these two ladies together because they inspire me in similar ways. For starters, they are both gifted and largely self-taught photographers. They both have an inimitable way of viewing the world, which, fortunately for the rest of us, they are able to share with us through their pictures. They also both share a passion for outdoor adventure and travel, and journey through life with huge smiles on their faces! Although life has led them down considerably different paths, both of them return to their ‘art’ again and again. Don’t take my word for it, click on their links and see for yourself.

4. ‘EcoCat Lady’: Interestingly, this blog is written by a woman who I have never met, in person anyways. Over the past year and a bit, she has been one of the most fervent supporters on my blogging journey and a very talented writer in her own right. We have had many conversations over e-mail and through the blog, in which she has shared a wealth of knowledge, insights, suggestions and wonderful stories. Thank you ‘ECL’ ;) – it wouldn’t have been the same ride without you!

5. Lindsey: THE fashionista of Regina, heck, maybe even Western Canada, there is literally no one else on the planet like her. Lindsey lives and breathes to the sound of her own drum, pushing the limits in almost everything she does. Funny, charismatic and heck, just plain wonderful, any compliment or encouragement from this gal feels like a BIG DEAL. Thanks you Linds for your ongoing support over the years. You have always been and continue to be a huge creative inspiration to me!

Interestingly… they ALL have blogs/websites! If you didn’t check them out as you were reading through, make sure you take the time to do so.

My hat is off to all of you ladies. Thank you so much for your inspirations, insights, ideas and passion for life! It is contagious! I love you ALL for the gifts that you have each given me.

Who are your creative champions?


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Indulging the senses... all five of them

Yesterday I had my first 'artists date'... which is actually a date with myself because, you know, I'm an artist.  We all are actually.  Thanks to my friend Wendy's recommendation, I am reading 'The Artist's Way' by Julia Cameron and let me tell you, it is already changing the way that I view myself in the world.  Like for starters, thinking of myself as an artist... that is an entirely new and foreign concept to me.  Admirer of 'real' artists maybe, but not an artist myself.

The first part of my date took place at the Devonian Botanic Gardens, a beautiful spot located only about 25 minutes from my house that I haven't visited since I was seven!  I actually don't even remember what they were like back then however, given the fact that I drive by the gardens semi-regularly, they have been on my 'to-do' list for some time.

It turns out that I chose well... my visit was literally a feast for the senses.  This didn't occur to me at first, as my intention was to merely appeal to my visual sense... I brought my camera along to 'capture' anything that inspired me.  I wasn't disappointed and took 140 pictures throughout my visit.  Here are but a few of my faves...

After my initial picture-taking frenzy as I bounced from one flower/plant to the next, it began to occur to me that my other senses were being stimulated as well.  To some degree, this is deliberate because the garden has a 'sensory' garden display, with plants that you can taste and smell.  For me, this display served as a great reminder to feel and be open to experiences coming in through all of my senses causing me to literally spend the next hour delighting in the sights, sounds and smells of the garden.  Talk about being present!

I finished my visit with a maple nut ice cream purchased from the garden cafe... I wanted to stay 'on theme' after all, and I wasn't disappointed with the indulgence. 

Ahhh, and so ends a great date.  But wait!  I missed a sense didn't I?  If you didn't notice, tsk tsk... that is Grade 1 Science people!


Well folks, I am not much of a 'toucher'.  There it is.  I said it.  Publicly.  I don't really love to touch or be touched and I know, I know, it's not 'normal'.  I am working on it though.  So, in the name of 'working on it' I finished my sensory extravaganza with an hour long massage.  And no, it wasn't at the gardens silly.  My friend Jill had booked me in to a spa for my birthday.  Gotta love that girl.  Hint, hint... this is an example of what a real friend might give you for a gift... ahem.

The thing is.... (drum roll please) I actually liked it.  I must be making some serious progress because after the initial 15 minutes or so when my mind was racing and repeatedly telling me how awkward/personal/uncomfortable it was, it eventually SHUT UP and allowed me to enjoy the last 45 minutes.  Rad.

Here's to the senses and my gratitude for having access to all of them...


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In the face of fear...

Well, I did it.  For realsies.  And I even paid the $20 for the video to prove it.  You know, for my 'fans'...  Actually, I did receive a lot of supportive messages today and I sincerely appreciate it.  Also, you might be pleased to know (well, I am pleased anyway), that there was NO puke involved.  Okay, with no further ado... here it is... and hey, no judging people.

So, there you have it.  And yes, I screamed.  I screamed at the very top of my lungs... to God... hmmm... I wonder what that means?  Who do you scream to when you are scared out of your mind?  What do you do when you are faced with a deep/dark fear that you know darn-well is statistically irrational (statistics do not enter into your mind when you are 106 feet in the air by the way). 

Today was actually a good day, maybe even a great day.  Prior to said 'event', I was wondering what the big deal was about 'conquering one's fear' and why the heck I used to encourage people to do this for a living (yes, for real).  It seemed perfectly rational back then, but earlier today, I wasn't having any of it.  I mean, really?  You want me to do WHAT? 

After it was all said and done, I remembered... fear is important.  Facing your fear is even more important and conquering your fear?  Hell, that is almost as energetically good as winning the lottery.  If you can face a 'big' fear in your life, and WIN?  Heck, you can do ANYTHING.  At least I think so... I am booking a skydiving jump for this fall.  Who is coming?

PS: my jumping partner Justin 'killed it' by the way... no screaming.  And he even went HEAD FIRST!  Guy is a supastar!!!  xoxo

What does it all mean?

A few months ago, a 'friend' sent me a gift certificate to go bungee jumping.  Well, at least I thought of him as my friend, but then I was like, 'What kind of friend would think to himself, hey, I know just what Maren needs, to throw herself off a 100 foot tower...'

If I am being honest, I guess that I would have to admit that I am not totally innocent in all of this, because I did cooperate enough to send him my address, however it was during a moment of 'weakness'... a time when I was all 'It is what it is' and 'I am open to whatever the Universe brings me'.  Maybe it wasn't a time of weakness at all but instead a time of complete and utter lunacy.

Until yesterday, I truly thought that I had 'dodged the bullet' so to speak.  The gift certificate has an expiry date of June 30, 2011 and I will be honest, I was going to let the date slip by 'unnoticed'.  Unfortunately, (or fortunately, I'm not sure yet), the Universe also brought me a jumping companion who also happens to be the 'lucky' holder of a Bungee Jumping gift certificate with the same expiry date (again, if you are considering giving this as a 'gift' THINK ABOUT THE MESSAGE PEOPLE!).  Thanks to Justin, there was going to be nothing quiet about 'missing' the expiry date.  Soooo.... today is the day. 

Okay... I am going to go and throw up now... and try to come up with 'the message' of this whole experience... Your friends don't really like you?  Hurling yourself off buildings is fun?  Throwing up in public isn't really that humiliating? 

Oh man.  I just want to get this thing over with.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Today I'm Going to Try to Change the World... Are You?

I had the good fortune of attending the Slave Lake Benefit Concert at the River Cree Casino last night.  Prior to finding out that it was going to coincide with Game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoffs... I was stoked (no, not really much of a hockey fan - just a bandwagon-jumper!).  After watching the first period at the local pub, Trent and I had to tear ourselves away to drive over to the casino. 

My indecision fell away almost as soon as the concert began.  As Johnny Reid - one of Canada's Country Superstars, took the stage I jumped out of my seat with the rest of the 2,000+ crowd to give him a standing ovation.  And then the music started... as the first chords of the song, 'Today I'm Going to Try to Change the World' filled the room, emotion flooded my body and tears began to spill onto my cheeks.  Caught off guard, I took my seat and attempted to calm myself down so that I could remain fully present and 'take it all in'. 

I first heard this song last summer as I was driving out to Nordegg and had a similar reaction... not quite as powerful but I could feel the same 'tug' on my spirit.  As soon as I arrived, I downloaded it onto my phone and was blasting it for my family, telling them that I had finally found my 'theme song'.

Here are the lyrics:

Today I'm gonna try and change the world
Gonna take it one day at a time
I've made my resolution
I've opened up my eyes
Today I'm gonna try and change the world

I'm gonna say hello to my neighbor
Greet him with a smile
Shake the hand of a stranger
Sit and talk to him for a while
Tell someone I love them
From the bottom of my heart
Today I'm gonna try to change the world

Gonna make sure my children
Know right from wrong
Never turn my back
On those who need someone
Always gonna try to see myself
Through another's eyes
Today I'm gonna try to change the world

Today I'm gonna try and change the world
Not for me, but for those I'll leave behind
I've made my resolution
Change it one day at time
Today I'm gonna try and change the world

Sounds simple right?  It really is.  I believe that everyone is a gift.  In fact, I make it my intention (and personal mission) to walk around in the world and have interactions with people.  As another one of the performers last night pointed out, you can literally be changed by an encounter with another person and likewise, you can change someone's life for the better as well.  In recent months, this has been a profound realization for me and living this philosophy has truly has brought positive changes and people into my life. 

I recently read that it only takes the square root of 1% of a population to affect the collective consciousness... that is only 100 people in a group of one million.  As we saw after last night's hockey game in Vancouver (I am referring to the disgraceful rioting that followed - boy am I glad that I chose the concert instead of that boring game!), this theory can work both ways.  As such, this is both reassuring and scary!  Think about it, as long as people have the attitude that 'it's not my problem', no change will ever come.  Instead, I would suggest that we switch our mentality and follow Ghandi's advice 'Be the change you wish to see in the world'. 

Change starts with you... and even small changes can have a huge impact.


PS.  For all of you Canadians, the benefit concert was filmed by CBC and will be aired tonight... check it out!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Trying to light, heck, to FIND my creative spirit

I like to think that I live with purpose... at least to the highest degree possible.   When the blog was a 'project' (and hence, had a purpose)... the words came freely, the topics jumped into my head and the entries flowed easily onto the screen.  Now that the 'project' is complete, the blog has ceased to fulfill a specific purpose and as such, the entries have been few and far between and to my way of thinking, lacking any real substance or 'spark' of enthusiasm.  Over the past months, I have had loyal readers encourage me to keep going, but as of yet, I have lacked the motivation to do so. 

Recently, (and oh so recurringly and in the funniest of ways), it has come to my attention that writing is widely considered a creative act: one that can be and is often engaged in just for the joy of doing so (gasp!).  To date, I have had little experience writing 'just for the heck of it', but it is becoming increasingly clear to me that it might be an important thing for me to do. 

With my disheveled, shocked, and still-slightly-comatose creative spirit in mind, it is with great pleasure that I offer you the reader: no promises about topics, content, substance, themes or even frequency of entries from here on.  I am truly going to commit to letting my creative mind/spirit 'run wild'... A scary notion for me (and likely for you) indeed, but it is on the edge of fear and discomfort you are able to GROW. 

Join me in this journey if you wish, adios and many thanks if you choose not to...

As always, I am happy to receive your thoughts and comments along the way and will do my best to reply...

To new beginnings,